CTUCC at General Synod!

More than 50 delegates, staff, youth and visitors from the Connecticut Conference just returned home after having attended the United Church of Christ General Synod 2017.


Complete coverage from Synod can be found at: www.ucc.org/news


Below are news highlights and reflections from CTUCC Synod participants.

Photo: CTUCC's Persephone Hall served as a committee chair

Synod News

Adoptees rights resolution falls short of required votes

Delegates to General Synod 2017 voted against a resolution Monday calling churches to identify the difference in rights of adult adoptees as a human and civil rights issue. Proponents of the resolution argued that disparities in adult adoptees"  access to their original birth certificates violated equal protection laws. 

Originally proposed by Brian Donahue, a member of Rocky Hill Congregation Church in Rocky Hill, Conn., and an adoptive and biological father of three girls, the resolution was brought to Synod by the Connecticut Conference which adopted a similar resolution in 2015.

At the time, Donahue said, "The United Church of Christ believes God shows no partiality. I believe the government should not either."

Read more

Photo: Two Massachusetts Conference delegates announce their plans to bring the adoptee rights resolution back in 2019.

Delegates Approve Economic Justice Resolution and $15 Minimum Wage

Delegates to the United Church of Christ's General Synod 2017 voted in favor of a resolution advocating for economic justice, including calling for churches to support legislation that raises the minimum wages to $15 per hour. The final resolution was a combination of two resolutions brought before Synod for consideration.

The two resolutions were combined due to similarities in their intent. One resolution sought "a just economy where all jobs pay a living wage" including a specific bulleted item suggesting "raising the minimum wage." The other resolution specifically called on churches to advocate for legislation to raise minimum wages to $15.

Committee Chair Robert Thompson said the committees worked hard to combine the language of the two resolutions in a way that preserved the intent and nature of both.  "As faithfully as we could," said Thompson, "we tried to keep the key point in both original resolutions."

Photo: CTUCC member  Marilyn Kendrix served as a committee chair.

Declaring the Earth is the Lord’s, UCC calls for environmental imperatives for a new moral era

The United Church of Christ, noting both the urgency of climate change and the continued debate over its existence, is "raising its prophetic voice" to urge the "healing of the Earth."

On Monday, July 3, the delegates of the General Synod passed a resolution that calls on clergy across the life of the church to preach about the moral obligation to protect God's creation, and appeals to its members to lead efforts to educate and advocate for legislation to reduce the human impact on the environment.

"The climate crisis is an opportunity for which the church was born," said Rev. Jim Antal, president and conference minister for the Massachusetts Conference United Church of Christ, and the author of the resolution. "This sets the stage for engagement and hope. This is a proclamation of truth and the love of God's gift."

The Connecticut Conference was one of 16 Conferences that endorsed the resolution.

Photo: Pam Arifian, Director of the UCC Northeast Environmental Justice Center at SLCC speaks in support of the resolution

Blackmon Speaks to Southern New England Delegates

BALTIMORE - In what could be seen as a sneak peek of next year's Annual Meeting, The Rev. Traci Blackmon visited a joint breakfast of the Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island General Synod delegations Saturday morning, 

Blackmon is acting executive minister of United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries, and will be the keynote speaker at the second joint Annual Meeting of the three Conferences, being held next June in Springfield, MA.

Hartford Pastor Offers Theological Reflection at Synod

The Rev. Dr. Damaris Whittaker, pastor of First Church of Christ, Hartford, will be one of the Theological Reflectors for General Synod 2017 in Baltimore on Sunday. Her reflection will focus at least in part on what she sees as a dichotomy present in the denomination's bi-annual national gathering.
"Synod is the best of religion, and the worst of religion, all in five days," said Whittaker.

Synod Reflections

We Try SO Hard. We Still Make Mistakes
By Tiffany Vail

What struck me the most at Synod was how hard everyone tries to live out what it means to be a multicultural, multiracial.church. They - we - try SO hard. And yet, we still stumble.

Read Tiffany's post

A First-Timer's Take
By Laura Fitzpatrick-Nager

It's my first Synod
And I have to tell you
You gotta be here.
You gotta be here to see and hear how 
Prophetic voices are speaking into the darkness of our present times
And telling of the glory of God in Baltimore.
Spurred on by Spirituals
By Jael Williams

To me, the best part of any worship service is the singing of the hymns, especially those familiar ones of long ago. They bring back nostalgic memories of incidents, places, and people. Of special reference is my grandmother who sang hymns and spirituals whenever, wherever and at any time the spirit led her to do so.

Spirit Calendar: Keep Fighting

Michele Mudrick 
writes: "Our efforts are continuing as we believe that there will be future opportunities to oppose this potential new casino and to educate the public about the social and economic costs to casinos."

Spirited Wednesday:  (G)RACE
The Rev. Jocelyn Gardner Spencer writes:  "I believe that the Holy Spirit is moving in our midst to unmask, dismantle, and eradicate the sin and separation of racism from our hearts, our communities, our institutions, our culture, and our world." 

Upcoming Conference Events
August 26, 11 AM to 5 PM
Silver Lake Conference Center, Sharon
A cookout lunch will be provided, as well as time to participate in traditional Silver Lake activities, explore on your own, take a group decade photo, and join in worship. 
Aug. 29, 9:30 AM to 12:00 PM
Details to be announced.
Find a complete list of Conference events at: www.ctucc.org/events
Other Events of Interest
July 9 - 12
Simmons College, Boston, MA
This biannual conference seeks to nourish, inspire, and sustain church musicians.    
July 10 - 14 
Craigville Reterat Center, Craigville, MA
A full week including presentations, Bible reflections, daily worship services, small group discussions, singing, playing music and Keynote Speaker Professor Lee C. Barrett.
July 13, Hidden Figures
July 27  42: The Jackie Robinson Story 
6 - 9 PM, First Congregational Church of Woodstock
A FREE summer movie series open to the local community focused  on recent award winning films that explore race relations in society, followed by a facilitated discussion.
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